A review of Monday's snooker action at the Masters, as Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Stuart Bingham.
Lift-off for The Rocket
Ronnie O'Sullivan began his quest for an eighth Dafabet Masters title by beating Stuart Bingham 6-2 in the first round at Alexandra Palace.
Fresh from winning his record-breaking seventh UK Championship in York before Christmas, O'Sullivan produced a sublime display which included back-to-back century breaks and a clearance of 66 in frame eight to force a re-spotted black which he won to clinch the match.
Bingham actually started the brighter, dominating the first frame to lead 1-0, but he struggled badly after fluffing a chance to double his lead in frame two and O'Sullivan capitalised in typically ruthless fashion.
Runs of 59 and 96 quickly put O'Sullivan in front before magnificent breaks of 134 and 111 saw his lead extend to 4-1.
Bingham was by this time visibly struggling but after 60 from O'Sullivan put him one away from victory, the 2015 world champion rallied with a break of 71 to keep his hopes alive.
Bingham looked set to reduce his arrears further when well set on 62 in frame eight but a missed red to the yellow pocket gave O'Sullivan half a chance and by clearing the table with his own break of 66, he forced a re-spotted black.
Both players had bites of the cherry but it was O'Sullivan who potted from distance to book a quarter-final clash with last night's victor Ryan Day.
"I just tried to be as professional as I can, disciplined and just draw on all your experience to do what you've got to do," O'Sullivan told the BBC. "He (Bingham) looked like he was getting stronger towards the end, I made a few mistakes and the game can punish you sometimes.
"I can play for another 10 years but I get tired now. I've got insomnia really, I've had it for seven years and every now and again it catches me out and I felt really tired today.
"I wasn't sure I was going to get through it but I went out there and the adrenaline kicked in. It's important when you're tired to feel like you are playing all right because adrenaline can overtake you."
Ding dominant over Lisowski
In the evening, Ding Junhui looked on good terms with himself as he beat Jack Lisowski 6-1.
The Chinese star, a former winner of the event, rattled in a 123 break in the fourth frame of an otherwise scrappy contest which was closer than the scoreline perhaps suggests.
Ding edged the first frame with a run of 66 and soon moved 2-0 up, but it was the third and fourth frames which represented the match in microcosm as both went his way by the narrowest of margins.
The third frame was particularly vital, with 49 shots taking place between Lisowski potting the blue and Ding stealing in to clear up pink and black and take it by two points.
The following frame also went his way, this time by a single point after a mistake from his opponent, who was unable to recover.
Ding progresses to a clash with Luca Brecel, a surprise winner on Sunday.
Monday results and schedule
Monday January 14
Afternoon Session (1300 - BBC/Eurosport)
- Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Stuart Bingham
Evening Session (1900 - BBC/Eurosport)
- Ding Junhui 6-1 Jack Lisowski